Conservation International (CI) has finalized a Memorandum of Understanding with 13 family groups, called Mataqali, and the Native Lands Trust Board to preserve the 20,700-hectare Sovi Basin.
The Basin is Fiji’s most important biological and landscape heritage. It is a bowl-shaped area found in the hinterland of Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island. The distinctive shape of the Basin creates a landform unique both in Fiji and in the Pacific, and is filled with the largest undisturbed lowland forest remaining in Fiji.
Under the terms of the memorandum, CI will help set up a financing mechanism to provide an ongoing source of income to the Mataqali for the sustainable development of the surrounding area and implementation of conservation objectives for the Sovi Basin.
The most important stakeholders, with respect to the Sovi Basin initiative, are individuals and families with landholdings in the Basin. These landowners have consented to the cancellation of a timber concession that previously existed, thereby foregoing anticipated logging royalties. Subsequently, the landowners consented to the establishment of a Nature Reserve in the Basin.